In the 1930's, a First World War flying ace named Roger Schumann is reduced to making appearances on the crash-and-burn circuit of stunt aerobatics. His family are forced to live like dogs while Shumann pursues his only true love, the airplane. When Burke Devlin, a reporter, shows up on the scene to do a "whatever happened to" story on Shumann, he is repulsed by the war hero's diminished circumstances and, conversely, drawn to his stunning wife, LaVerne.Written by
A slight departure for director-extraordinarre Douglas Sirk
Although Douglas Sirk was Universal's house director in the mid-late 1950's turning out glossy soap after glossy soap (1954's "Magnificent Obsession", 1955's "All That Heaven Allows", 1959's "Imitation of Life"), he took a slight diversion with "The Tarnished Angels". Besides being in black and white, this actioner is much less sudsy than Sirk's other films of the era. Using the prinipal players from his 1956 epic soap "Written on the Wind", he creates a fast-paced melodrama following the adventures of a family of airplane stunt people and the reporter who is drawn into their world. Robert Stack is Roger Shumann, a stunt pilot, Dorothy Malone is his beautiful parachutist wife, and Rock Hudson is Burke Devlin, the intrigued reporter.
Roger is devasated when he crashes his prized plane, so another pilot(Robert Middleton) makes Roger a deal. He'll give Roger his plane in exchange for Roger's wife,LaVerne(Malone). Meanwhile, a used and abused LaVerne falls for Burke. There's not much here at all by way of plot. In fact, the film is really dull in that aspect. But what gives this movie legs are the brilliantly directed action sequences(some of the best ever captured on celluloid)and tremendous performances from Stack, Malone, and Hudson. Malone is especially amazing, following up her Oscar-win the previous year for "Written on the Wind". Mediocre film, interesting especially to Sirk fans.
13 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this